There was a boy. Let’s call him TR.
We were 13, or maybe 12. That awkward age where someone asks someone else to be their boyfriend/girlfriend and that’s it, you’re Going Out. Which at that age (back in my day), consisted of nothing more but awkward (if not silent) conversation, hanging out together with the rest of your friends and perhaps holding hands (but probably not).
He went to a different school to me; a friend of a friend. I snuck out to my Nan’s house next door to use her phone to call him a couple of times, and we’d arranged to go to the local outdoor swimming pool (it must have been the summer holidays) with my friend and a load of their friends from their school.
I was a bit of a shy, awkward kid, and I didn’t really know many of them so I was already self-conscious in that way only teenagers can be, before we’d even got there.
That cringeworthy moment of stepping out the changing rooms to the pool area, feeling all eyes on you. As a kid you give no shits, just run towards the pool and jump/slide/dive in. Hit puberty age and you’re SO conscious of EVERYTHING you do and what other people might think that it’s a suprise we don’t actually just crawl along the floor trying to be invisible.
So there I was, gawky and self conscious with my new ‘boyfriend’ and one of the first things he feels the need to point out, to both the group and me, was my lack of breasts. “Titless Tara”, said with a laugh.
Mortified. Absolutely mortified. Unsurprisingly, I was already painfully aware of my lack of development in this area. As if it isn’t bad enough just going through puberty, some knob jockey feels the need to point it out to everyone to make it ten times worse.
I laughed it off, and although it cut to the core and embarrassed the hell out of me, I rose above it and had enough about me to realise there was nothing I could do about it, and it said more about him than it did about me. But I’ve never forgotten it, and vowed never to do or say anything in a way that would ever make someone feel like I did that day.
Our relationship lasted the grand total of about 24 hours, and that was about 23 hours too long.
A quick Facebook stalk gives me a slight sense of satisfaction; I may not have won the puberty race but I’m sure as hell winning the ‘aging well’ race.